Say­ing good­bye to Lamaline Sea Cadets Corps

Com­mu­nity and cadets dev­as­tated by clo­sure of 289 Corvette

The Southern Gazette - - Editorial - BY MAR­TINE BLUE mar­tineblue­news@gmail.com

For over 34 years the Royal Cana­dian Sea Cadet Corps 289 Corvette played a vi­tal role in Lamaline.

“If any­thing goes on in our com­mu­nity, the cadets are the first ones to be asked,” Com­mand­ing Of­fi­cer Lt(N) Glenda Boland said. “Ev­ery year the cadets are the main part of the Santa Claus parade; the cadets are there in their uni­forms to re­mem­ber our fallen vet­er­ans at Re­mem­brance day cer­e­monies in the schools; for the me­mory tree light­ing; the cadets are the ones who read out the names, they sing the Christ­mas car­ols; on July 1 they are in­volved with the rais­ing of the flag. Any­thing that needs done, the cadets are usu­ally called on.”

For Boland — who has been an of­fi­cer since 1991 and came up through the ranks as a sea cadet for six years be­fore that — the de­ci­sion to ter­mi­nate the corps was one of the hard­est she ever made.

“It’s in my blood. It was a re­ally, re­ally hard de­ci­sion, I’ve had sleep­less nights, lost sleep, I’ve shed tears,” she says through tears. “As you can see I’m a bit emo­tional about it. There comes a time in your life, even though you have a pas­sion for some­thing, to just move on.”

Boland cites low en­roll­ment num­bers as the main rea­son be­hind her de­ci­sion. When the corps opened in Lamaline, al­most ev­ery child in the com­mu­nity and neigh­bor­ing towns was in­volved, 120 cadets. The num­ber was down to 85 when Boland went through and is now down to just nine cadets.

Boland says dwin­dling num­bers are an is­sue across the prov­ince.

“Nowa­days all corps are small,” Boland com­mented. “It’s not like when we were in cadets.”

Back when Boland was a sea cadet, the min­i­mum age to join was 13 (it is now 12). She wanted to be a part of the or­ga­ni­za­tion so badly that she be­came emo­tional about it.

“I can re­mem­ber cry­ing to my fa­ther be­cause I wanted to join,” Boland re­called. “I re­mem­ber be­ing so up­set that year be­cause I couldn’t join. He (her fa­ther) called the of­fi­cers, but you had to be 13 to join.

“Ev­ery­body wanted to be part of cadets. To us the cadets was every­thing. We were a dif­fer­ent per­son when we were in our uni­form. We had a sense of be­long­ing. We felt so proud to be in that uni­form.”

Skills

The skills and op­por­tu­ni­ties avail­able to sea cadets are nu­mer­ous. They have the chance to learn how to play an in­stru­ment, sail, be­come a trained marks­man, learn sur­vival skills, first aide, phys­i­cal fit­ness, mil­i­tary style drills, they can travel through­out Canada and in­ter­na­tion­ally, and have the po­ten­tial to be­come em­ployed in sum­mer camps in this and other prov­inces and to re­ceive schol­ar­ships.

The Lamaline cadets are wel­come to join other corps but Boland says with the win­ter weather and the dis­tances in­volved, that might be pro­hib­i­tive for most.

Im­pact

Boland says the loss of the Lamaline corps will have a large im­pact both on the cadets and the town.

“We have a real com­mu­nity in­volve­ment,” Boland said. “We’re small in num­ber but we’re big in heart and it will def­i­nitely be missed.”

Burin-Grand Bank MHA Carol Anne Ha­ley is sad­dened by the news.

“The clo­sure of RCSCC 289 Corvette is an es­pe­cially poignant loss for me since it served as my home corps for a num­ber of years,” she wrote in an e-mail to The South­ern Gazette. “To be a suc­cess­ful cadet you have to prac­tice team­work, re­spon­si­bil­ity, lead­er­ship, re­spect, punc­tu­al­ity….the list is end­less.

“Of course those aren’t merely cadet skills – those are skills that you carry with you through­out your adult life as well. They are cer­tainly skills upon which I rely ev­ery day as a Mem­ber of the House of As­sem­bly.”

Dif­fi­cult

The loss is es­pe­cially dif­fi­cult for cur­rent cadets. Cassie Drake is a Petty Of­fi­cer 1st class, fourth year. She says she took the news of the clo­sure hard.

“My re­view­ing of­fi­cer put that she was step­ping down on Facebook,” Drake re­called. “I was half cry­ing at the ta­ble, I did not want it to end.”

Drake says the loss will be felt by the town in a big way.

“It’s gonna have a huge im­pact on the com­mu­nity,” she said. “Al­most for every­thing the com­mu­nity has, the cadets were in­volved in. There’s go­ing to be no band or any­thing for the Christ­mas parade. Even for Canada Day, we don’t even have any­one in uni­form to raise the flag now. It’s dev­as­tat­ing hon­estly.”

Drake cred­its her in­volve­ment with the sea cadets as form­ing an im­por­tant el­e­ment of her so­cial life.

“We used to go on trips. We used to do marks­man­ship com­pe­ti­tions and go sail­ing. It was loads of fun,” she said. “I will miss meet­ing new peo­ple. We used to min­gle with corps from other ar­eas on the Burin Penin­sula. That’s where I met most of my friends, ac­tu­ally.”

With the dis­tances in­volved, Drake doesn’t think she’ll join an­other com­mu­nity’s corps. She also feels the ex­pe­ri­ence wouldn’t be as fa­mil­ial.

“With our corps, where it was such a small corps, you knew ev­ery­one so well,” Drake stated. “If you go to an­other corps, af­ter spend­ing so many years to­gether, it just wouldn’t be the same.”

The big­gest loss for Drake though, are the po­ten­tial op­por­tu­ni­ties she is miss­ing out on.

“You get schol­ar­ships and every­thing,” Drake lamented. “I won’t get the higher ranks now and I’m re­ally sad about it.”

“Ev­ery­body wanted to be part of cadets. To us the cadets was every­thing. We were a dif­fer­ent per­son when we were in our uni­form. We had a sense of be­long­ing. We felt so proud to be in that uni­form.”

ALL PHO­TOS SUB­MIT­TED

Lt(N) Glenda Boland CD. Com­mand­ing Of­fi­cer 289 RCSCC Corvette.

Ships com­pany from left to right, front row Hai­ley Boland, Is­abella Slaney, Kerry Dodge, Cassie Drake, Macken­zie Ha­ley, Cait­lyn Ed­wards; back row Aslt Barb King, CI Stephanie Slaney, Am­ber Os­mond, Bradley Isaacs, Pa­trick Boland and Lt(N)Glenda Boland CD. Miss­ing from photo is Slt Ge­of­frey Cake.

An­nual cer­e­mo­nial re­view of 289 RCSCC Corvette sea cadets.

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